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Russia's Retaliation Over EU Deal Awaits Moldova

Published: July 17, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

As Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova move ever nearer to Europe, much to Russia's dismay, the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission assembled Wednesday with plans to discuss imposing "protective measures" on trade with Moldova.

While the results of Wednesday's meeting are yet unknown — the Commission's press office said that they will be revealed Thursday — Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister, Igor Shuvalov, said last week that the topic was on the board's agenda, ITAR-Tass reported.

The underlying issue is the same one that inspired months of anti-government protests in Ukraine, culminating in the ouster of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Russia's annexation of Crimea and the ongoing separatist insurgence in the country's east that has claimed hundreds of lives: an association agreement with the European Union.

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have all signed association agreements with the EU, but on July 2 the Moldovan parliament became the first and only one of the three to ratify it, immediately drawing the attention of top Russian officials.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared shortly after that Russia must respond "in the very near future" by decisions reached with Belarus and Kazakhstan, its fellow Eurasian Economic Commission and Customs Union members, ITAR-Tass reported.

"It is clear that this will seriously impact [Moldova's] trade and economic relations … which includes countries of the Customs Union and participants in the agreement on a free trade zone in the Commonwealth of Independent States," Medvedev said. Ukraine, Moldova and Russia are all part of a free trade zone within the CIS, a loose alliance of post-Soviet republics. Georgia was once part of the union as well but withdrew in 2009.

As for what the measures may look like, Russia's Economic Development Ministry on Wednesday published a draft bill that would levy a customs duty on an array of key imports from Moldova, including meat, fruits, vegetables and wine. If approved by the government, the bill will go into effect within one month of its signing.

Any actions taken now against Moldova would serve as a precedent if Ukraine and Georgia similarly ratify the agreements, Medvedev said.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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